6

I am planning (still in planning phase since last 1 month :( ) to use bicycle as my commute to and from office.

My office is around 18 km away from my home. Almost half the road will be full of traffic. Everyone in my family has already told me that 36 km per day will be too much and I wont be able to continue cycling for long time.

I am aware that initially it will be tough to go 36 km per day but I think after month or so my body will get used to it.

So I am wondering how much km do other people go per day? What are your experiences about cycling? and 36 km per day is too much distance?


Update : Finally I bought one cycle against everyone's suggestion (family members and friends) and started cycling to the office. I must say it is a tough job to start cycling after 10 years but I am enjoying it. It takes me almost the same time to reach office. On my motorcycle I used reach office in 40 minutes and on cycle it takes me around 50 minutes. Dust, pollution and other people yanking horns from behind is the biggest headache for me now. I hope that I will get used to it :)

Thanks everyone for your encouragement, suggestions and answers.

  • 1
    This q/a about cycling to work may also have helpful info for you. – BackInShapeBuddy Nov 5 '14 at 18:01
  • 1
    Cycling exertion is about 1/4 that of running, so you could compare this to running about 2.8 miles (4.5km) each way. Not a big deal. You could get used to this very easily. – Daniel Nov 5 '14 at 19:59
  • 1
    The nature of this question isn't exactly related to be to fitness and is likely a better fit for Bicycles. There are already good answers here, but I can migrate this to the other site where you'll likely have better information. – Matt Chan Nov 6 '14 at 2:43
  • 2
    The distance itself is no big deal. I used to do more than that in the morning, on the way to work (and even then I was not in the best of shape). The traffic is hard to evaluate. But ease into it: Starting out do it about every 3rd day, then after 2-4 weeks every other day, then you can go to every day 2-4 weeks after that. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 8 '14 at 3:52
  • 2
    Don't overthink it... Just do it! – chrisjleu Nov 14 '14 at 4:59
14

I have a co-worker who rides into work on a ~30 mile one way trip. It's no problem for him because he's a good cyclist, has a good bike, and is used to that kind of distance. He's got his saddle worked out, his form is good, his lights are good, and he knows his route.

The biggest problem he has is dealing with a locker room, and needing to move clothes back and forth. He usually drives in on Friday to haul his used up work clothes back his house.

The things I would focus on:

  • The logistics of clothes, weather, being clean, and your schedule.
  • Knowing how to fix a flat.
  • Having a back up plan when you wake up and it's raining/snowing/hailing outside.
  • Getting used to the mileage. If you've never really ridden before you'll be dealing with soreness, kinks, and gear issues.
  • Good bike maintenance. If you keep everything lubed up, fix little issues before they get big, and can do your own work (or most of it) you'll have a lot less problems.

I was riding my bike your distance to work when I was 14 years old, but I was also a competitive cyclist so the distance was nothing. A mid-range competitive cyclist can easily pack away 400 mile weeks in the winter so your co-workers are nuts that it's not possible given you have the body and bike to do it.

  • Thanks Eric for boosting my morale :) I will keep your points in mind and start cycling from tomorrow only. – Shekhar Nov 5 '14 at 17:07
  • 1
    Actually, place where I live (Pune, India) people have no respect for traffic rules. So that's THE MOST crucial thing for me to take care of. Hopefully I won't get hit by any speeding motor cycle, car or state transport buses. – Shekhar Nov 5 '14 at 17:09
  • Never hope that other people will be careful around you: they won't. As long as you're responsible for your own safety, all should go well. Learn to look back while keeping a straight line, that's the #1 survival trick for me. Learn to brake efficiently also, using the front brake (so many people only rely on rear brake...) – Antoine Nov 12 '14 at 15:57
  • I don't care about fixing flat (or other problem) in and around the city, I'd just catch a train, cab or uber and fix it in comfort J – imel96 Dec 12 '14 at 3:18
4

Traffic is definitely an issue, adding to the important concerns Eric had described. Since automobiles have vastly different dynamics, and drivers often do not expect anything but other cars on the road, your presence will often be an unpleasant surprise for the less attentive of them.

I would suggest wearing a good helmet and not these tiny plastic caps (possibly with face cover — sadly it is not scandalous to hear about a cyclist breaking their teeth and/or nose upon impact), gloves which you will trust with protecting your hands on contact with asphalt on 35 km/h, knee and elbow protection.

It is also a must to be making yourself visible to the drivers. Blinking LED front light (but not too bright or with adjustable brightness so that you will not be blinding and distracting people at darker hours), large and bright red back light, LED-lined vest if you can find it, other red lights directed to the ground, the more the better.

  • why blinking? Yes they are a bit easier to notice, but imo they make it way harder to see where excactly it is or how fast it is moving. Additionally it will make it harder for you to see what is in front of you. (And also in germany they are illegal) – Flo Nov 5 '14 at 20:37
  • @Flo to make yourself noticeable. Cars and motorcycles do not use them, therefore you will stand out in the rear view mirror. (Yes, some people look in rear mirrors even in slow traffic.) – Mischa Arefiev Nov 6 '14 at 16:26
  • @Flo Also, I myself would not expect anybody to recognize my size, speed, or distance to me by looking at the light alone (if we are talking about dark hours). Just making your presence known to the drivers is the best you can hope for. In daytime hours no non-blinking bicycle light is bright enough to attract attention. – Mischa Arefiev Nov 6 '14 at 16:33
  • @Flo As for the vision, I rarely drive in complete dark, and when there is at least some street light available, blinking is never the problem. Blinking is definitely an issue in complete darkness, but it can be solved with having two lights. – Mischa Arefiev Nov 6 '14 at 16:34
2

Traffic varies a lot between countries - my guess is that it quite a different thing in India than in Denmark.

During the last 20 years many Danish cities have been completely re-designed to better accommodate the many bikes - often by reducing the number or width of the car lanes to make room for dedicated bike lanes. And for a city like Copenhagen, it has been a huge success where more than 20% of the morning traffic is by bike on the more than 450 km bike lanes and tracks (you can find a lot of information from the concil)

enter image description here

This picture is from downtown Copenhagen an Autumn morning.

Apart from the odd accident with a right-turning lorry, biking in Copenhagen is a relatively safe experience.

For many years I went 2*20 km each day to and from work. As stated elsewhere the main problem was getting a locker room and handling you clothes...

  • Even in my city we have very few dedicated lanes for cycles but mostly those lanes are encroached upon by beggars, dogs, cows, some people have set up shops on it, motor cyclist take their bikes on those lanes and sometimes even on foot path also. Once upon a time Pune city was also known as "city of cycles" but sadly now people go for motorcycles and cars by default. Plus getting driving licence in India is very very easy, so people don't really know what is the meaning of "road safety" until they met with an accident. Fighting with all these issues is very difficult. – Shekhar Nov 7 '14 at 3:33
  • 1
    Hmm... In Copenhagen the risk of being hit by somebody is probably higher in the bike lanes than on the car lanes 😀 many bikers are a bit aggressive and seems to think they have precedence to everybody else. Copenhagen officially markets itself as the city of cyclists... – Tonny Madsen Nov 7 '14 at 4:53
  • Oh okay. It looks like bikers have same attitude all over the world. – Shekhar Nov 7 '14 at 4:57
1

It's all relative. I ride 8 km each way to work, and I ride all year in the wet and rainy Pacific Northwest of Washington State.

There is a guy at work who rides about 22 km each way, and he too rides all year.

My route puts me in traffic most of the way, but Washington State is regarded as the most bike friendly state in the U.S.

On your question of feasible, if one is fit enough then the distance won't be a challenge. I'm 47, and I rode my first two Centuries (100 mile rides) earlier this year. In terms of the traffic, really only you can gauge it and decide.

1

My commute is exactly the same:18km one way. I have an electric motor 350w that helps a lot, on normal days no shower needed in the morning. I tried all possible side roads until I found a nicer route, even if that is 5km more, I prefer the safer and quieter way.

1

I used to commute 14 kilometers one way, which makes up 28 both ways to work every day. Needed to get used at first but it did not take much time. A bicycle moves 22 km/h in average in a tight traffic with lights, +-3 km/h if you are lucky or not, which makes some 40 minutes for the whole trip - not a big deal, really. I did not ride in rain and when it is much colder than possible for comfort. Use lights at night, take care of traffic and you will be fine. I don't think there's any extra preparation needed.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.